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There was a certain warmth here, and I liked that. Dr. Posey also was impressed with Albert LoBuglio, M.D., who was director of the Cancer Center at the time.

Many times, when people have done research for a number of years, they become dispassionate toward potential of a new drug discovery, Dr. Posey says. There was something about Dr. LoBuglio s enthusi- asm that he was able to maintain it even after more than 20 years of research that was encouraging for someone like me who was interested in early-phase investigation and was trying to initiate a career in that area.

After joining the Cancer Center team, Dr. Posey became interested in gastrointestinal (GI) malignan- cies and found that the diversity of those diseases made their treatment both challenging and scientifically exciting. He remains interested primarily in early inves- tigation, combining novel treatments for given cancers with modifiable aspects such as diet in a multidisci- plinary setting that brings all of these things together into one treatment plan.

Part of being a comprehensive cancer center involves examining the nuances of treatment, he says. For example, looking at diet and nutrition as well as patient comfort and ease of access. Those are important aspects that we need to embrace.

Having Faith Another important aspect of his life that Dr. Posey

tries to incorporate into his work is his faith. In 2010, he founded First Things First Health Ministries, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that focuses on strengthening health-care professionals who care for critically ill patients.

Treating cancer is difficult, and I try to avoid moments when the balance shifts too much in one direction, but there are two things that are important to me, Dr. Posey says. One is the quest to under- stand more about cancer and how we can do a better job preventing or treating it. The second thing is my

faith, which helps me on a day-to-day basis to remain focused, to deal with the difficulties and to be refueled to come to work and do what I do.

Through First Things First Health, Dr. Posey has begun looking at how faith may be important to other physicians and how it may or may not help them in the challenges they confront as health-care providers. Innately, we have defense mechanisms to protect our- selves from things we don t like, he says. In the care of cancer patients, sometimes defense mechanisms or separation can occur without us really even thinking about it. I find that with many health-care providers and others who find faith important, there s a different level of engagement toward how we incorporate faith and our life goals into what we do. For me, faith is not just a tool I need to cope with cancer care, but quintes- sential for living.

Moving Forward Outside of work, Dr. Posey enjoys gardening,

cycling and photography, as well as spending time with Elaine, his wife of 22 years, and their children Josiah and Evelyn. Though he has had opportunities to leave Birmingham over the years, Dr. Posey feels that he is exactly where he should be.

I still think UAB is a ripe place for continued suc- cess in clinical trials, he says. I feel connected to the community, and there are great opportunities here that I d like to see come to pass.

I think the sense of the conveyance and of the role I play in facilitating health care is important. For me, it begins with a certain security about my life, my course, what I do and understanding my limitations, he adds. My goal is simply to be an effective vessel the tool used to bring about the most innovative, effective out- come. Having said that, I experience sadness and frus- tration in every setting where the case didn t go the way I would like. Most days, I believe I m called to be here. And if I m called to be here, I can t leave until it s time to leave.

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